Why is it important to protect the Gulf of Mexico?
The Gulf of Mexico is recognized worldwide as a vast and productive body of water with tremendous value in ecological, economic, and social terms. The Gulf's vastness and diversity often mask the fundamental relationships between the living and the non-living workings of the ecological system. The Gulf of Mexico:
- Has helped shape the natural heritage, culture, and economy of the five Gulf of Mexico States and the nation
- Gulf habitats include coastal wetlands, submerged vegetation, important upland areas, and marine/offshore areas
- Encompassing over five million acres (about half of the U.S. total), the Gulf's coastal wetlands serve as an essential habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species, including migrating waterfowl (about 75% traversing the U.S.), seabirds, wading birds, furbearers, and sport and commercial fisheries